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The Museum of the 20th Century

Berlin, Germany (2016)

The Museum of the 20th Century and its urban integration

The Landscape Building concept was conceived as a subtle exchange, it is a terrain itself. The building uses every aspect of its construction for navigation and art exhibition. The roof slopes are pedestrian walkways and they form a sculpture park. (The gradients of sculpture park give many different observation angles for users to apprehend the sculptural work on display.) The views from these roof gradients onto the surrounding buildings and parkland also give the idea that this building is a piece of landscape itself.

The Landscape Building expresses the notion of a seamless transition between urban spaces. Its white translucent appearance suggests a universal, timeless character with no obvious materiality. Its architectural elevation from the Potsdamer Str. perspective, has a rectangular shape. But as an observer circumnavigates the edifice, it changes its appearance and shape – in this way, it provides a particularly relativistic experience. 

The Landscape Building, poised between the structures that express qualities of the grid and the sculptural (the Nationalgalerie and the Opera), incorporates both of these qualities. The Landscape Building completes the architectural dialogue at the site.

The landscape building

The main hall of the Landscape Building provides a direct connection between Scharounplatz and Sigismundstrasse through a central atrium. Likewise, visitors can ascend the ramp parallel and adjacent to Potsdamer Strasse and navigate the upper pathways of the museum, which trace a zig-zag shape, finally leading visitors down to the site of St. Matthaus Kirche.

The Landscape Building’s ramps are designed for barrier free wheelchair access with 6% slope inclination. The highest level of the building platform is 12.1 metres above ground level, which is 1.3 metres lower than the Nationalgalerie. The Opera building is still visible from the Nationalgalerie over the top of Landscape building and indeed, the views from the rooftop pathways of Landscape Building maintain constant reference to all adjacent historical buildings.

Space concept

The Landscape Building has a large, light filled temporary exhibition hall running through its core (15m wide, 12m high and 100m long). This space can contain large scale installations (on walls, on the ramp, above the submerged part of the ramp). The ramp leads down to the main exhibition spaces of the museum, which are located on the subterranean level. 

The building plan of access routes has the shape of a cross so that visitors and staff may easily navigate through the building. Equally, such a shape provides enhanced flow in the case of fire or emergency.

The roof pathways are open air and the floor surfaces are composed of energy gathering systems that draw energy from motion such as footfall. There are also systems in place to collect rainwater for use in the building’s plumbing networks.

Landscape architectural integration

The top surfaces of this building are a mix of hardscape and landscape as low grade greenery is incorporated into these spaces. The building easily blends into the adjacent platz spaces where trees rise to meet these upper levels. Also, the series of sculptures that are on display along these roof pathways form their own landscape, they comprise a sculpture park. Otherwise, the integration provided by the ramps rising from street level provide a seamless integration with the surrounding topography.


In collaboration with Architects of Invention

Team: Simon Gatehouse, Nikoloz Japaridze, Giorgi Nishniandize, Anton Khmelnitskiy, Ivane Ksnelashvili,
Natasha randall, Davit Tsanava, Dominykas Daunys

Status: Competition
Location: Matthaikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Size: 2,800 sq.m